Get To Know Paint Night's own Rhonda Nolan

Posted by Madeleine Till, January 24, 2018
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Artist Rhonda Nolan

Drake Devonshire's much loved Wednesday evening Paint Night classes just wouldn't be the same without our resident host, The County's own Rhonda Nolan. In her own words: "Rhonda Nolan is a mixed media, contemporary artist who continuously explores and paints. She expresses herself through her textural, mark making process, developing her style to encompass her surroundings, borrowing from her past history and experience". After painting and raising her family in Toronto for many years, Rhonda took the plunge and moved to Prince Edward County.

Can you tell us about your background and how you came to develop your artistic practice?
I come from a Design background. I have a design degree from Ryerson. I have also worked as a paper maker and illustrator before turning my love to painting. I developed a line of greeting cards on handmade paper that sold internationally. This is where my love of texture began.Then later a printed line of cards followed that used my illustrations. I began a relationship with expressive street art and markmaking when I started coordinating an art program for inner city homeless people. This particular style of art frees one of judgment and encourages you to 'let go' inhibitions - really truly what I do now and what I teach.

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Rhonda Nolan's home studio

When did you take the leap and move yourself + family to The County? Did the move change the way you approach your artwork?
The move to a spacious studio/gallery in Prince Edward County, Ontario, 4 years ago, has given me the opportunity to free up my expression by painting larger which led to developing a line of banners for indoor and outside. This freedom of space with less distractions of city life allows me to focus solely on my ART. I love this life!

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A group of participants at a Drake Devonshire Paint Night

Can you describe a typical Paint Night at The Devonshire?
It's a fun stress free evening. People are encouraged to make themselves comfortable by spreading out and relaxing. I show them samples of work that can be accomplished within the 2 hour time frame... nothing too outrageous... We're not painting a pretty picture of flowers or a boat.. just fun with textures and marks.. I limit the color choices to 2 and emphasize that texture is important and what ever they feel is right. I encourage them to go with their gut feeling and never to allow themselves to get bogged down in analysis - to let go that part of the brain... and then the fun begins.

They start by painting on paper to loosen up and start making marks, experimenting with different tools. They then will paint on unstretched primed canvas. I then ask them to begin collage by ripping or cutting up their painted sheet(s) of paper and applying it to the canvas support surface. They can also mix in other textures (fabric, newsprint, brown Kraft etc.) and make other marks (pastels, graphite) at this time.

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Where do you find the inspiration for your Paint Night projects?
This inspiration comes from my daily practice. This is the way I paint but of course using many tools and techniques but still exploring with texture and marks.

paint night couple

What kind of techniques and artwork can Paint Night attendees expect to work on?

What happens on Wednesday is doable for anyone within a two hour span - no previous training necessary. I ensure this, and of course they have glass of wine to help them along to relax. I guarantee that everyone feels good about what they have learned and produced by the end of the evening. Some are very surprised. They also learn that this side of the brain can be tapped into by anyone at any time in their life. A good way to relieve stress and let go would be to begin a daily practice. I encourage this for anyone who wants to discover more about them self... all sorts of things begin to appear on the page.

Be sure to check out Rhonda's portfolio here, or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Paint Night runs every Wednesday, 7pm, at Drake Devonshire. Tickets are $40 and include: instruction for all levels, the materials you need to make your masterpiece, and a glass of wine!

Posted in: Art

Tags: #art  #culture  #drakeart